Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) involves fatigue that is sufficiently intense and persistent to reduce normal daily activities by at least 50% for a minimum of six months. Women account for 70% of cases of CFS, with the typical patient being a Caucasian woman in her mid-20s to late 40s. The prevalence is 4 to 10 formally diagnosed cases per 100,000 U.S. adults (18 years or older). Women are affected almost twice as often as men.
Although not conclusive, CFS may be precipitated by infectious agents (for example, Borrelia burgdorferi), herpes viruses, Candida albicans, and parasitic agents. This may very well be a multifactorial pathologic entity with lifestyle and constitutional/psychological makeup contributing factors.
Causes / Risk Factors
- Stressed immune system caused by recent acute illness, chronic health problems, emotional factors (anxiety, depression), or poor nutrition
- Possibly environmental pollutants and contaminants
Signs and Symptoms
- Sudden onset of severe fatigue, developing over a few hours to a few days and often after an acute viral illness
- Low-grade fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Myalgias and arthralgias
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased ability to concentrate or remember
- General muscle weakness
Diet and Lifestyle considerations for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Short-term counselling can assist the patient in restoring self-esteem, problem solving, and coping with life stresses.
- Acupuncture is effective in reducing the symptoms of fatigue.
- Regular exercise is crucial to improving energy, at a level that is tolerated.
- Yoga, Tai Chi or other relaxing activities may also be useful.
- Trial the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet under a certified biomedical practitioer
- Patients should avoid coffee, cola and other caffeinated drinks.
- Diet should be low in sugar and carbohydrates, as hypoglycaemia is a trigger for fatigue.
- Each meal should have protein to provide adequate amino acids for healthy neurotransmitter production and blood sugar control.
- Emphasise foods high in magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and antioxidants, such as green vegetables and nuts.
- Patients should eat small, regular meals.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Avoid known food allergens, an elimination diet may be beneficial for some people.
- Foods should be well cooked and warm to facilitate easy digestion, avoid raw foods and cold drinks.
Integrative Treatments Overview
In order to obtain optimal results, the patient might consider a holistic approach that integrates several treatments to address biochemical, physiological, energetic, emotional and/or spiritual imbalances. These treatments can include Allopathic Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Biomedicine, Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, Energy Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Ayurvedic, muscular-skeletal support, Psychology and more. It’s important that treatments are overseen by experienced and certified practitioners who are able to work in teams (see below for where to find one).
For Treatment options see Treatments menu at mindd.org
Nutritional & Environmental Medicine Overview
Nutritional & Environmental practitioners focus on cellular health by optimising nutrient uptake while minimising toxic exposure. Biomedicine, Functional Medicine and Orthomolecular Medicine are all subsets. The overall goal is to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which are key drivers in chronic modern disease (e.g. asthma is inflammation of the lungs, arthritis is inflammation of the joints, eczema is inflammation of the skin, IBS involves inflammation of the gut and ADHD and Autism include inflammation of the brain). A combined approach of diet, lifestyle and natural therapies supports the body’s innate ability to heal and prevent disease by maintaining homeostasis (balance).
It is recommended that a patient consult a certified practitioner to assess their symptoms and case history and explore their individual need to:
- Screen for food sensitivities and allergies
- Implement dietary intervention geared to the individual (e.g. GAPS, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, FodMAPS, Evolutionary, low oxalate/salicylate, Ketogenic)
- Supplement with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics
- Improve gastro-intestinal health to support the vagus nerve and brain and immune function
- Support neurotransmitter function
- Supply fat soluble nutrients for brain structure and function
- Reduce toxicity and heavy metal accumulation
- Minimise infections (e.g. bacteria, yeast, virus, parasites) to reduce immune response and nutritional deficiencies that can impact on mental and physical health
- Regulate blood glucose and establish healthy eating habits
- Use energy healing (acupuncture, homeopathy, kinesiology, Emotional Freedom Technique)
Where can I find a certified practitioner?
Finding a well-trained Integrative practitioner requires research. You can reference the lists below for one in your area and should consider checking references and interviewing several before you select one.
The World Anti-Aging Academy of Medicine can help you find Integrative practitioners throughout the world.
The American Academy of Anti-Aging has a directory of doctors, spas, clinics and products that support Integrative treatments for all disease.
The American College for the Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) trains practitioners in Complementary and Integrative Medicine.
Generation Rescue has a list of Integrative practitioners who specialise in childhood neurobiological disorders (Autism, ADHD, allergies). If they do not treat adults or your condition, they might be able to refer you to someone in your area who can.
Australia & New Zealand
Mindd Foundation trains Integrative practitioners in Australia and New Zealand and is partnered with the Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs (MAPS).
The Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) trains in Australia and New Zealand.
The British Society for Ecological Medicine has a list of practitioners in the UK
Mindd Foundation gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Metagenics in supplying the Definition, Causes and Diet & Lifestyle Considerations for this page.